Unarmed Verses

Presented by: Regina International Film Festival

About the Film

Growing up in a Community Housing Project, 12-year-old Francine Valentine always had difficulty expressing herself, until she found Art Starts, a program that encouraged her to record her story in her own words. Through her powerful voice, she gives a unique insight into the reality of living in her community, and the far-reaching effects of its recent gentrification.   

This powerful documentary by Charles Officer won Best Canadian Feature at the Hot Docs festival in 2017, and won the People’s Choice Award at TIFF’s Canada’s Top 10.

Q&A with documentary subjects Francine Valentine and Carleen Robinson. Introduction by Dawn Rae Flood. Moderated by Moniefa McCausland.

You can stream this film for 48 hours, beginning at 7 AM EDT on Wed. April 21

Special Guests

Francine Valentine

Francine, 18 years old, is originally from Antigua. She has a passion for music, poetry and art, honed as a result of community based programming, which has given her the confidence to express herself through artistic endeavors. Growing up in the Villaways Community at Leslie & Sheppard, she met Filmmaker Charles Officer, while he was doing background work for Unarmed Verses. This film highlights the impact of families being uprooted and relocated to other communities throughout the City and Francine was chosen as the Lead primarily as a result of her ability to communicate through her Art and Poetry.

Carleen Robinson

A passionate entrepreneur, Carleen Robinson has been involved in various aspects of the Arts Community for the past 10 years. Her love for fashion led to an opportunity to provide wardrobe for the granddaughter of the Late Bob Marley and Rita Marley, activist, actor, and artist Donisha Prendergast. This work led her to film screenings in Japan, United Kingdom, Kenya, Canada and the United States. 

Carleen spent 5 years as programme manager of the non-profit Art Starts, and the community she worked in was featured in the film Unarmed Verses. She also worked on the feature doc, Of Cod & Rum: The Newfoundland Connection, which tells the story of the historical and cultural links between the islands of Jamaica and Newfoundland.

Moniefa McCausland, moderator

Moniefa McCausland is a 4th-year student at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan. She is currently in the final semester of completing an Honours degree in History with a minor in Anthropology. She was born and raised in Jamaica but immigrated to Canada over a decade ago. She has a great passion for social justice and activism and expresses this passion through her research on race and gender relations in both an American and Canadian context.

Introduction by Dawn Rae Flood

Dawn Rae Flood is an Associate Professor of History at Campion College at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada.  She is the author of Rape in Chicago: Race, Myth and the Courts (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012, 2018) and “A Black Panther in the Great White North: Fred Hampton Visits Saskatchewan, 1969,” Journal for the Study of Radicalism, vol. 8 no. 2 (Fall 2014): 21-49. Her research focuses on race and gender relations in a modern, urban setting and radical movements in support of social justice.